25 March 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Controversial auction of Hertfordshire council’s art collection sells out for £444,000: An auction of works from the collection of the Hertfordshire County Council, which raised more than £444,000 in total, has drawn criticism from arts bodies and cultural figures. Just over 150 works consigned to Cheffins auction house in Cambridge all found buyers at a sale held yesterday. The top lot, a Surrealist work by John Tunnard entitled Brandis .44 (1944) sold for £37,000 (hammer price; est. £10,000-£15,000). Cheffins will offer another 300 works from the Conservative-run council collection in its interiors sales on 25 April and 23 May. 

22.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Controversial auction of Hertfordshire council’s art collection sells out for £444,000  

‘Stay of execution’ for art shippers as EU extends deadline for permits: The European Union agreed this week to allow UK art shippers and other luxury good hauliers to continue to enter the continent without a permit in the event of a no-deal Brexit—but only until the end of the year. 

22.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: ‘Stay of execution’ for art shippers as EU extends deadline for permits  

Tate art galleries will no longer accept donations from the Sackler family: The Tate group of British art galleries has announced that it will no longer accept any gifts offered by members of the Sackler family, who own the US maker of OxyContin. The prescription painkiller is under fire amid the opioids public health crisis in America. 

22.03.2019, The Guardian: Tate art galleries will no longer accept donations from the Sackler family  

22.03.2019, Frieze: Tate Rejects Sackler Money Over Opioid Crisis Connection  

The Hague’s art arbitration court to open in April: The first tribunal devoted exclusively to art disputes, the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA), will open for business 1 April in the Hague. Bert Demarsin, CAfA’s chair, says that its decisions will both be more accurate and accepted by an art market sceptical of judges’ rulings that merely decide which party has the preponderance of evidence. But since it turns out that the parties involved in its cases can prevent CAfA’s decision from being published, it is an open question whether the system will fully achieve its goal of trade approval. 

21.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: The Hague’s art arbitration court to open in April  

Living Things, With No Bone or Tissue, Pose a Quandary for Museums: In the restitution debate swirling through European museums, the treatment of human remains has been cited as an area of steady progress. Museums say that putting skeletons and relics on display aids understanding of world cultures and scientific development throughout history. But some were taken from indigenous groups. 

21.03.2019, The New York Times: Living Things, With No Bone or Tissue, Pose a Quandary for Museums  

22.03.2019, The Times: National Army Museum returns hair of Emperor Tewodros II to Ethiopia  

A Painting Looted by and Returned to Nazis Finally Goes to Its Jewish Owners: A cathedral in Germany has agreed to return a Nazi-looted painting to the heirs of Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus, an Austrian Jewish couple from whom it was stolen in 1941, according to the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, which has spent the last eight years negotiating the restitution. 

20.03.2019, The New York Times: A Painting Looted by and Returned to Nazis Finally Goes to Its Jewish Owners  

21.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: German cathedral returns Nazi-looted Dutch Old Master to heirs 

 21.03.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Nazi-looted painting seized by Adolf Hitler’s photographer finally handed back to heirs of original Jewish owners by German cathedral  

Going, going, gone online: Europe’s auction houses go digital: Behind the splashy headlines proclaiming record sums for works of art, a less eye-catching but more profound technological upheaval is taking place in the day-to-day business of continental European auction houses. Online sales and live-bidding, key tools for broadening client bases, are where the 21st-century auction battle is being fought. 

20.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Going, going, gone online: Europe’s auction houses go digital 

The Louvre Sent Three Paintings to a Show About the Nazi Occupation. They Were Greeted With Three Restitution Claims: The Louvre in Paris has become increasingly open about works in its collection that were looted by the Nazis. In late 2017, it opened a dedicated display for orphaned works that had been looted or bought by German occupiers as part of an ongoing effort to find their rightful owners. It also agreed to loan three of these works to an exhibition at Paris’s Shoah Memorial. But the Louvre was probably not expecting the exhibition’s curator, on the eve of the opening, to present the Paris museum with a restitution claim on behalf of people who claim to be the works’ rightful Jewish heirs. 

19.03.2019, Artnet: The Louvre Sent Three Paintings to a Show About the Nazi Occupation. They Were Greeted With Three Restitution Claims  

National Portrait Gallery drops £1m grant from Sackler family: The National Portrait Gallery has become the first major art institution to give up a grant from the controversial Sackler family, in a move that campaigners said was a landmark victory in the battle over the ethics of arts funding. 

19.03.2019, The Guardian: National Portrait Gallery drops £1m grant from Sackler family  

19.03.2019, Frieze: National Portrait Gallery Declines £1M Sackler Gift Following Anti-Opioid Criticism  

19.03.2019, The New York Times: British Gallery Turns Down $1.3 Million Sackler Donation  

19.03.2019, The Financial Times: National Portrait Gallery and Sackler Trust halt £1m donation  

21.03.2019, Le Journal des Arts: Un musée londonien renonce au don d’un mécène lié à la crise opioïde américaine  

Construction Workers Have Found a Trove of Papers Under the Floorboards of Vincent van Gogh’s London Home: A book of prayers and hymns has been found beneath the floorboards of the house where Vincent van Gogh stayed as a troubled young art dealer in London. Among the unexpected findings were a wad of crumpled papers and other documents, some of which date to the period the Dutch artist would have been in residence, from 1873 to 1874. 

19.03.2019, Artnet: Construction Workers Have Found a Trove of Papers Under the Floorboards of Vincent van Gogh’s London Home  

25.03.2019, Le Quotidien de l’Art: Un trésor caché dans la chambre de Van Gogh à Londres

United States

Report: Guggenheim Museum Says It Will Decline Sackler Funding: Members of the Sackler family have been accused of helping fuel the opioid crisis as the owners of Purdue, which allegedly withheld information about the addictiveness of its painkiller OxyContin, as well as their tactics in marketing pharmaceuticals. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 1,600 suits have been filed against Purdue and its owners. 

22.03.2019, Art News: Report: Guggenheim Museum Says It Will Decline Sackler Funding  

Fake no more: poppy painting in US museum is by Van Gogh—and has a surprise under the surface: A still life of poppies which has been hidden away in storage for 30 years at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut has been authenticated. Specialists at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have also confirmed that there is a hidden image of a portrait beneath the paint, showing that Van Gogh reused the canvas to save money. 

22.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Fake no more: poppy painting in US museum is by Van Gogh—and has a surprise under the surface  

A Late Tang Dynasty Sculpture Bought at a Missouri Garage Sale for Less Than $100 Just Sold for $2.1 Million: When a woman picked up a Buddhist sculpture at a garage sale in Missouri for less than $100 she had no idea what she was buying until she took it on the Antiques Roadshow in St. Louis some 20 years later. 

22.03.2019, Artnet: A Late Tang Dynasty Sculpture Bought at a Missouri Garage Sale for Less Than $100 Just Sold for $2.1 Million  

21.03.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Garage sale-find Chinese bronze valued on US ‘Antiques Roadshow’ makes $1.7m at Sotheby’s auction  

FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office Seek Return of Rococo Painting Allegedly Looted by Nazis in Ukraine: The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan will seek the return of an undated painting attributed to Pierre Louis Goudreaux, a 18th-century student of the Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard that was looted during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. 

21.03.2019, Art News: FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office Seek Return of Rococo Painting Allegedly Looted by Nazis in Ukraine  

False Attributions Have Beleaguered Tintoretto’s Reputation. Three New Museum Shows Hope to Change That: Tintoretto’s was the “most extraordinary brain that painting has ever produced,” as Giorgio Vasari told it. A Tintoretto work that El Greco saw in Venice was “the most beautiful painting in the world.” Peter Paul Rubens owned five of the Italian artist’s canvases. Henry James said, “If Shakespeare is the greatest of poets, Tintoretto is assuredly the greatest of painters.” 

21.03.2019, Artnet: False Attributions Have Beleaguered Tintoretto’s Reputation. Three New Museum Shows Hope to Change That  

Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard, a Lawsuit Says: The two slaves, a father and daughter, were stripped to the waist and positioned for frontal and side views. Then, like subjects in contemporary mug shots, their pictures were taken, as part of a racist study arguing that black people were an inferior race. Almost 170 years later, they are at the center of a dispute over who should own the fruits of American slavery. 

20.03.2019, The New York Times: Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard, a Lawsuit Says  

Following Outcry, Hudson Yards Tweaks Policy Over Use of Vessel Pictures: In its terms of service, which are not posted on the property but are available online, Hudson Yards said that it had the right to use any picture taken in the vicinity of the art installation for commercial purposes, with no royalty fees and no restrictions, forever. 

19.03.2019, The New York Times: Following Outcry, Hudson Yards Tweaks Policy Over Use of Vessel Pictures  

Why The Arts Are The Great Unappreciated Engine Of The U.S. Economy: On March 18, the Trump administration released an update to its proposed 2020 budget, calling for the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), along with the cancelling of other public service agencies — the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

19.03.2019, Forbes: Why The Arts Are The Great Unappreciated Engine Of The U.S. Economy  

US Supreme Court declines to review a challenge to the National Gallery’s ownership of a Matisse: The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a ruling that rejected a claim to a 1908 portrait by Matisse owned by the National Gallery in London. 

19.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: US Supreme Court declines to review a challenge to the National Gallery’s ownership of a Matisse

World

Amid a Gloomy Economic Forecast and Simmering Political Tensions, Art Dubai Tries to Find Stability: The economic forecast has been gloomy. While no official recession has been announced in the UAE, there are whispers of a looming plunge not unlike the one of 2009. In November, Dubai posted its biggest job loss since the global financial crisis a decade ago. On top of that, a continued blockade against Qatar, the UAE’s involvement in the war in Yemen, and a softening retail market have led to diminished economic confidence. 

22.03.2019, Artnet: Amid a Gloomy Economic Forecast and Simmering Political Tensions, Art Dubai Tries to Find Stability 

Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue launches arts foundation: The figures alone tell the story: Alserkal Avenue, once a bleak industrial area in Dubai’s Al Quoz district, attracted just 10,000 people in 2007, the year it was set up as a creative arts hub. Last year well over quarter of a million visitors flowed into the district, now doubled in size and boasting a vibrant mix of creative start-ups, non-profit foundations and art galleries. 

21.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue launches arts foundation

Basrah Museum unveils three new galleries in Saddam Hussein’s former palace: Housed in the Lakeside Palace built for Saddam Hussein in 1990, Basrah Museum is now the second largest in Iraq, after the National Museum in Baghdad. The museum will open three new galleries on 19 March, quadrupling its display space following the inauguration in September 2016 of a gallery dedicated to antiquities from the southern Basra region. 

18.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Basrah Museum unveils three new galleries in Saddam Hussein’s former palace  

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